0

TBI and fatigue (video)

Hello all,

A new video up about fatigue. What it feels like, what it looks like and how to assimilate it into your life (hopefully).

 

 

 

Advertisements
0

Braingirl bonus #4 (second attempt)

Hello everyone,

Another video, this one shorter than the last as it’s a Braingirl Bonus video. I introduce a special guest and waffle on about some changes I’ve made.

As always, enjoy!

 

 

 

3

“You’re breaking free and the morning’s come”

I swore I’d never be one of those people. The ones who cry and write about a famous person dying. Yet here I am, crying and writing. It came from an unexpected yet completely understandable source. A person who I had unknowingly locked away in my subconscious and who was, as I found out, still living there in full technicolour.

Yesterday the mighty Keith Flint of The Prodigy was found dead at home from an apparent suicide. Mr Braingirl told me the news after seeing it on social media. Initially I don’t think I understood what was being said. I just said something along the lines of ‘oh no, that’s terrible’. Then as it sunk in I became increasingly saddened by what I’d heard.

Keith and The Prodigy were a HUGE part of my 90’s experience. A snapshot in my history where summers were long, life was endless and anything was possible. I think a lot of people had that experience in the 90’s especially the early part (91-95). I was a crusty grunger, all dreadlocks and charity shop layers. I had discovered legal (and some not so legal!) ways of juicing every last drop of joy and adventure out of life. I primarily listened to guitar music, the heavy, melancholy, angst ridden stuff. Then along came Keith, Liam, Leeroy and Maxim. The gateway drug to my raving. A world of drum n’ bass, breakbeat and acid techno.

The Prodigy were electronic music but they were also punk as f**k. They are one of the few acts that leapt through musical barriers. Crusty punk metal techno ravers. Liam is a genius who melded all his musical influences into one snarling, wild, genre-defying, aggressive, kick you in the nuts musical beast. Liam was the musical genius and Keith was the in your face conduit of that genius. I remember when Firestarter was released and how Keith was perceived as ‘scary’ by the establishment, I never thought Keith was scary, he was exciting and inticing. They were just as awesome (if not better) live as on record. I saw them live a few times, I think my first experience was Glasto ‘95. I scaled the wall and stayed for nearly a week. It was the second summer of love and I remember it well. A scorching hot Summer and a time when I was loving life and embracing freedom.

Seeing The Prodigy live blew my mind, they gave it everything, a sonic blast to the soul. A band that froze time and made you feel free. They were anti-establishment, no apologies, the flag bearers for the Criminal Justice Bill protests and a place where, no matter what music you liked we all brushed shoulders in that crowd and LOVED The Prodigy. A band not for the suits and the music business, they were a band for the people. The Prodigy made you feel like you were part of something much bigger than yourself. We were a moshing, pogo-ing ecstatic family.

So losing Keith is a great personal loss for his band mates and family but it is also a massive loss for a point in history. The last dance of the mad bastards. A time before music started to become safe and about image and celebrity. A time where you could stand in a field and get your face melted off and have the best time of your life. It is also, and I didn’t know it until yesterday, selfishly, a great loss for me. Losing Keith also feels like I’ve lost an old part of myself, the part that felt invincible and immortal and knew that music transcended all the bullshit. A snapshot of braingirl, 18 yrs old in 1995, kicking arse and taking names. Something The Prodigy and Keith personified for me.

I smiled this morning as I thought of all the stereos in houses and cars across the world blasting out The Prodigy yesterday, all remembering and being grateful for the memories and the moment in time that The Prodigy came rocketing into their lives.

Rave In Power Keith. The world is a little less brave and colourful today.

My condolences to everyone who is feeling a bit broken by this news.

4

Keep hope alive.

We’re in the strange twilight zone between Xmas and new year where you don’t know what day it is and there’s a feeling of impatience, of waiting. Waiting for what exactly, you don’t know. It’s a time where I notice I go inward, even more so than usual, I start thinking about what I’ve acheived, what I haven’t acheived and how I’d like my life to look. The reality never matches my imaginings (think sunshine and cornfields with floaty dresses and bare feet) but I still do it or things will get very bleak indeed.

I have recently had a downturn in my mental health, I have been very exhausted but mainly my cells have been full of sadness. Waking up every day and feeling like it’s an obstacle course is tiring and disheartening . I’m also aware I’m not accepting what has happened, I refuse to, because living like this is just not good enough for me. Then comes the guilts and the shames for still feeling this way, wondering why a smart person like myself just can’t get over this. There’s the rub you see, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, it takes the time it takes.

As a result of my decline I’m back at Counselling and have been referred back into Brain Injury towers, that amusement park of services where you close your eyes and hope for the best. I’m grateful that they exist, I am, but it all just feels too little too late, too disjointed. A session I had at Counselling the other week brought up the notion of hope and how throughout all of this I always had hope, it was this that made me still have my imaginings of a healed braingirl and all the amazing stuff I was going to do, it was hope that made me carry on, it was hope that was sometimes the only thing that made me brush my teeth and go to the toilet.

But recently, my hope had disappeared. This was worrying, as in the absence of hope, I had nothing. That’s when I felt REALLY broken. That feeling of the final straw. I was starting to think I couldn’t do this anymore, to keep getting up after having your legs swiped from under you has its limit it would seem. I am a stubborn mofo but I was starting to feel I had no strength left.

As you may or may not know, I came off all social media last year, because it was so full of hyperbole that it was sapping my will. I stayed on Instagram because I enjoy the pretty pictures, I also enjoy the fact that you don’t have to say anything if you don’t want to. I was lazily scrolling through my feed earlier and dipping into some comment sections and I noticed that a lack of hope was creeping in there too. There was one particular individual (not on my follow list) who was just plastering Vegan accounts with despair and nihilism. He was a younger fella so he may be doing that teenage emo thing but it got me thinking about the nature of hope and how intrinsic it has been in recovery. It also got me thinking about hope on a wider scale. It doesn’t take much to trigger my PTSD and I am very careful about what I feed my brain so it only took this one kid to send me into a despair spiral about climate change and why intelligent people (who think of themselves as fair minded) still keep oppressing animals, why don’t they get it, why nothings ever going to change, the sky is falling in etc etc etc. Then I stopped myself and realised that firstly I felt sorry for this person, to be so young and so free of hope must be very scary indeed but it also kick started my hope accelerator. How can he have given up I asked myself. There is always hope, there has to be. 

I don’t want to live in a world out of hope, heck, I don’t even want to live in my own body without hope. If you’re out of hope, plant something, make a list of things you’d like to do, let yourself lie in bed and have your wild imaginings about that day where you are healed and free. The plant may die, the guitar may go unplayed and you may never be fully healed but for that second, you got a boost in your hope centre and your neurons laid a stepping stone that helped lead you towards a moment of sunshine.

Now playing: ‘No hard feelings’ – The Avett Brothers

I found this poem called ‘Wild Geese’ and somewhow it fits. It’s lovely. Please read it.

E6D5B057-C7FC-4A7A-A21F-77254CCEC318

4

I think that’s well understood

I didn’t want to write this, I didn’t have it in me. My brainiversary blog posts are normally fairly upbeat affairs with a nice message and a catchy poem or quote. But in all honesty since July I’ve been feeling anything but jaunty. I didn’t really want to start my next year of recovery on a bum note but here I am.

I then realised that it’s ok to not be ok and it’s even more ok to express that. There are loads of us who are not ok right now. To pretend I’m something that I am most definitely not right now does myself and others a disservice. I’m not entirely sure where this post will end up, so I’m just going to write and see what happens.

The duvet of safety has become my home once more as about 95% of my time since July has been spent underneath it, gestating or incubating or whatever else is boring and still. I’ve got up when I’ve needed to attend something such as my PIP tribunal (which incidentally, I won) but gone straight back to doing my best impression of a plank of wood as soon as I get home. Even the sweet victory at my tribunal got buried underneath the layers of bleurgh that currently hover around my atmosphere.

There are many reasons for the reappearance of my ennui and despair, some that I can put my finger on, others that are hidden within the folds of my temporal lobe (some brain lingo for you there). One of the obvious reasons is that my brain is damaged, mood change 101 right there. Other reasons are the upcoming anniversary that always chirps in, a longer than usual bout of fatigue and a pervasive feeling of stress that is hanging around. There are other reasons that are making me particularly vulnerable due to factors mentioned above. This is stuff that just makes me break inside and feel impotent because I can’t help. When I’m low like this my shell is fragile and I just can’t cope with anything, I know all the advice about worrying about things only within my realm of control but there are times such as now when my faith in myself and humanity goes missing.

I feel so trapped at the moment, trapped by my body that won’t do what I want it to do, trapped by the ignorance and stupidity of others, trapped by society, trapped by the benefit system, trapped, trapped, trapped. There just seems to have been a huge tidal wave of what I will call ‘shite’ that makes my heart hurt. Are you ready for the list of ‘what is currently making Braingirl angry and sad’? Ok, here goes; The selfish actions of farmers in Hurricane Florence territory who despite having 2 weeks warning about the flooding, decided to lock all their animals in cages and leave them to drown in the flood (current estimate is 3.4 million lives) all treated like commodities they can claim on the insurance because we think we own sentient creatures. Hambacher Forest, a 12,000 year old forest in Germany, home to 142 species regarded as important to conservation, casually being torn down right now by a company called RWE for coal mining. The badger cull being rolled out across the UK, where farmers are being offered money to catch and shoot badgers in the head for no concrete scientific reason. Kaporos festival in New York, basically a chicken slaughter festival where thousands of lives are taken and dumped on the streets all in the name of religion. Then finding out 5 species of bird have recently gone extinct in the Amazon due to clearance for animal grazing for an effing beef burger (I’m looking at you MuckDonalds and you can shove your new vegan burger up your golden arches). If this doesn’t make you angry then you’re not paying attention.

This my friends was all in the month of September. This stuff goes on and on and on and yet we still as a society do absolutely nothing (and those that do get the most hideous abuse on social media by people who think ‘bacon tho’ is a clever and intelligent response to a call for compassion). Well I’m fed up mateys, totally fed up. I want to join the Hunt sabs but I can’t, my brain won’t let me, I want to go to protests, but I can’t, my brain won’t let me. I want to liberate animals, but I can’t, my brain won’t let me. All I can do is the moral baseline of being vegan and supporting those that CAN do what I can’t. I can’t be silent anymore. If you’re on Instagram follow @thesavemovement @animalliberationfront @unoffensiveanimal @undergroundbadgersyndicate show them some love and support for being on the frontline.

I massively digressed there but after more than 2 months of inertia and frustration getting that out was very therapeutic! Where do I go from here? I try to reason with myself and give myself that pep talk about feeling what I feel and being kind to myself and all that jazz, so here I am, with you, feeling my feelings. Despite everything I am usually fairly upbeat and progressive, I usually have an inordinate amount of hope in the goodness of humans but right now I want to give everyone a bloody good rattle, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!

I went to my homie (am I too old to say homie?) Rumi for some good talk, here’s what he told me.

D4C4FA60-40EA-4ED9-B7BB-7B7B1BDB615C

How appropriate for just after the Autumn Equinox, dead leaves a-dropping all over the place. I suppose for my 6 year brainiversary it’s time to let the dead leaves drop, time to drop toxic people, toxic mindsets, toxic habits, drop sitting in my own insecurities about how I’m received and if it offends people and start to speak my truth. I need it and my furry, feathered and scaled brethren REALLY need it. Face year 7 in its face, stop stirring your own stew Braingirl and rule your world from your bed if you have to.

P.s. A small candle of good news this month was that I passed my final Horticulture exams with a commendation. All that work was worth it.

This song has been percolating around my noggin for weeks, here, you have it.